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Why is the involvement of non-academic roleplayers such as industry and clinicians so important?

A critical outcome of the Challenge is to establish and strengthen relationships between various parties, that are required for innovation to be successfully converted into viable products – and thus downstream benefits for the country (e.g., jobs, exports, innovation capital etc.).

Industry participation occurs in the form of:

  1. The NTIP, which forms part of the Production Technology Association of South Africa (PtSA);
  2. Clinicians and industry experts; and
  3. Representatives from the South African Medical Device Manufacturing environment.

What are the key milestones of the challenge - and what is the overall timeframe?

  1. Initiation and conception;
  2. Planning and preparation;
  3. Student on-boarding;
  4. Training and execution;
  5. Monitoring & Control; and
  6. Project closure (end February)

How will you benefit from participating in the merSETA ViroVent Innovation Challenge?

Being selected for the challenge is a great privilege, with allocated funding supporting the world-class skills development of students in South Africa.

  1. Gain experience in maturing the learner’s selected medical device through different stages of industrialisation; 
  2. Build extended skill sets, that are critical to industrialisation success and may currently not be part of the formal academic curriculum (e.g. market research, business planning etc.);
  3. Gain broader medical device sector expertise through the three courses provided;
  4. Get exposure to non-academic stakeholders such as industry players to understand different perspectives and be better prepared for post-academic (self-)employment; and
  5. Participate in a multi-stakeholder process of having their solution selected and competing for scarce resources. 

This means that students, who have successfully completed the ViroVent challenge, will not only be more skilled to successfully master the task of medical device industrialisation – but also boost their chances of success as entrepreneurs or as job seekers in the industry.

How will the universities benefit from participating in the merSETA ViroVent Innovation Challenge?

  1. Financial support for students’ studies;
  2. Access to additional skills development material and instruments with economies of scale;
  3. Exposure to other universities and the establishment of networked research / industrialisation clusters;
  4. Establishment of relationships with industry parties

Where to get support or advice if needed?

The first point of call for support is for learners to contact the project sponsors at their university. If additional support is required), please send an email to Sarah at or